Before you make a big move to another city for a job, blogger Danielle Corcione recommends answering these key questions.
Two months after I graduated college, I relocated 1,800 miles away for my first job.
After four weeks, I was asked to leave.
This came as a shock—since I planned on working there awhile. In any case, there are some things I wish I had considered before making such a spontaneous decision.
Before investing in a major move, consider the following five questions.
Do I have enough funds in my savings account?
Consider relocation costs. Are you packing up your car? Do you plan on hiring a moving company? Are you taking a plane and abandoning most of your personal belongings? Account for both travel expenses and everything you’ll need once you settle in.
When I made my major move, I filled up my Honda Civic. I planned on buying everything once I moved into my new apartment, which I arranged before I left. In addition to gas, food, and hotel expenses, I budgeted for furniture and other home fixtures.
Additionally, your prospective employer might offer to pay relocation costs. If you’re unsure, ask. Although I declined their offer, Teach For America would have helped with transitional costs, including travel, relocation, and certification expenses.
Even after all these expenses, you should have funds left in your savings accounts. Think about emergency situations. What if the job doesn’t work out? Again, I was asked to leave after nearly a month, even though I’d just signed a lease. Luckily, I still had a modest amount of savings, so I had the flexibility to move again.
Where will I live?
Will you rent an apartment or a home? Will you be living alone or with roommates? Research rental prices on sites like Craigslist and Trulia for your prospective region. Ideally, you should set up a living arrangement before you leave.
If you’re unable to make arrangements ahead of time, consider temporary housing. Hypothetically, once you arrive in your new stomping grounds, where will you be staying the first night? If you’re staying somewhere temporarily, will it be a hotel, a spare bedroom in a coworker’s apartment, or something you found off Airbnb? Include these expenses in your moving costs.
Before my apartment was ready, I stayed in my coworker’s college apartment for a week. The following week, I stayed in a restored chicken coop on a farm in a town with a population of 49. (Talk about culture shock!)
Can I live off this salary?
Consider the cost of living in the job’s location. Is it more or less affordable compared to where you live now? There are tons of calculators to determine this online, including Salary.com’s Cost of Living Wizard.
Also, roughly determine your monthly expenses. This could be the first time you’re moving away from home, so you’ll need to pay rent and other similar costs. You might have different expenses compared to where you live now. For instance, if you’re moving to New York City, you’ll likely need to invest in a metro card for the subways.
Will I be signing a contract?
In Nebraska, it isn’t typical to sign contracts for a job. In this state, it’s common to practice at-will employment, where the employer can terminate an employee for any reason at any time. So, I often signed a contract when accepting a serious job.
If you’re not signing a contract, ask for some sort of documentation to explain you’ve been hired, along with any benefits. Although I didn’t sign a contract before moving, I asked my future boss to email me the job description, salary, and other benefits to maintain a record.
Will I enjoy the area?
Really try to see yourself living in this new area. If you’re moving to a city, would you consider yourself a city person? Have you lived in a city before? If you’re moving to a more rural or suburban region, consider the same questions for those types of areas.
When I moved to Nebraska, I failed to recognize beforehand that I might have a difficult time adjusting to the Midwest. For instance, while attending college outside New York City, there’s a sense of anonymity, where people typically keep to themselves. However, where I am now, it’s routine to greet and strike up conversations with strangers. (Locals still might consider me a rude person because I don’t go out of my way like them.)
Avoid making a spontaneous, quick move to accept a long-distance job offer, even if you’re a recent college graduate. Consider the different expenses required and how you can currently afford them (if at all). Once you’ve weighed things carefully, you’ll be ready to make such a big decision.
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